Roche has leapt on the takeover bandwagon with both feet, laying $8.3 billion on the table for US biotech InterMune.

The Swiss drug giant said it would pay $74 a share for the group, equating to a 38% premium over its closing price on August 22, buying access to its promising portfolio of lung disease candidates.

InterMune’s lead drug pirfenidone has won approval for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in the European Union and Canada, where it is marketed as Esbriet, and is currently being reviewed by regulators in the US, where an approval is expected this year.

Analysts believe the pill could rake in sales of $1.04 billion in 2019, according to a consensus forecast compiled by Thomson Reuters Pharma, as reported by Reuters, helping Roche to build on its respiratory offering and further diversify from its traditional cancer focus. 

Roche chief executive Severin Schwan said the offer “provides significant value to InterMune’s shareholders” and that the acquisition “will complement Roche’s strengths in pulmonary therapy”.

Reaching more patients

Explaining InterMune’s interest in the deal, CEO Dan Welch noted that “Roche’s global resources and scale will not only facilitate and accelerate our ability to deliver pirfenidone to more patients around the world, but also to realise our joint vision to bring additional innovative therapies to patients with respiratory diseases”.

The transaction, which has backing from the boards of both companies, should be neutral to core earnings per share next year but accretive from 2016, Roche said.